9 Travel Tips to Make Your Holidays Brighter

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Holiday Gathering Picture

Are you planning to travel to see relatives this holiday season? Or, maybe your family is celebrating abroad? Whatever your travel plans may be, here are some tips to help make traveling during the holidays easier on you.

1. Avoid traveling on peak days. If you plan to travel to see family for a holiday, avoid traveling the day before, as that’s typically the busiest travel day of the season.

2. Do research before you travel. If you’re going by car to your holiday destination, review alternate routes to avoid traffic. You may even find some ways to break up the drive (if driving a long distance) with fun places to stop, eat, stretch and enjoy. If you’re flying, take note of the airline’s baggage fees and restrictions ahead of time. If you’re making a connection, review the airport map to learn where to eat, relax or even recharge your electronic devices.

3. Pack light. If you’re flying, try to avoid checking baggage. But, if you must do so, keep your medication, passport (or other relevant documents) and an extra set of clothing in your carry-on bag. If you’re traveling by car, less is always best. If you forget something, you can likely purchase it as you travel or when you arrive at your destination.

4. Plan for the unexpected. What if your flight is delayed due to bad weather? Or you get a flat tire on the road? Be prepared for all possible scenarios so you won’t panic if something unexpected happens. This may mean using travel insurance, getting a vehicle tune-up prior to leaving, updating your vehicle’s first aid kit, or even keeping water with you. Think about your family’s needs and plan accordingly. Above all else, be as flexible and patient as you can. For example, if your flight is overbooked, and you’ve picked a time to travel that gives you flexibility, you may be given the option to get a voucher for a free (or heavily discounted) flight to use in the future.

5. Stay connected, but safe. If you’re flying, download the latest app available for your airline to check flight status and airport traffic. You can also ask for your flight status to be texted or emailed to you. If you’re driving, make sure your GPS works or the maps app on your phone is updated to provide the most recent maps and alternate routes. You may also use apps that show where the cheapest gas is (and the cleanest bathrooms) as you travel. Just be sure you’re focused on the road and not your phone. Ask a family member to be the navigator or stop to review alternative options if you’re traveling alone.

6. Don’t drive tired or impaired. Never drive if you’re too tired – pull off the road and rest, or get a hotel room for the night. If you’re driving home after a holiday party, use a designated driver – never drive while impaired.

7. Notify BancorpSouth when you travel. Because our debit and credit cards come with Fraud Alerts, it’s important to let us know in advance when you’re traveling so we can monitor your transactions appropriately.

8. Bring only the cards you need. When traveling, you don’t always have to bring all your credit or debit cards. Bring only the debit or credit cards that you will be using and make sure that you plan accordingly in case of an emergency.

9. Be aware of your surroundings at ATMs. Wherever you go, use ATMs that are located in safe, public areas during daylight hours. Also, if using a walk-up ATM, consider using ATMs located in lobbies of banks or buildings instead of on the street.

Really, the best advice anyone can give for holiday travel is to leave early or late – depending on where you’re traveling. Be patient and kind to your fellow travelers, as everyone is trying to get somewhere they want to be over the holidays.